I don't create the covers for all my books, but when I do, I just love the process. When I first tried my hand at making covers, I started with the Unconventional Series. I tried using Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 (that's an old version) and didn't have much luck. I just couldn't get a handle on overlaying objects. I was feeling frustrated and wondered if there was another program in my limited selection that might work. Even though Microsoft Office PowerPoint seemed a stretch of the imagination, I gave it a whirl and created the first covers for this series as seen below. The cool thing about PowerPoint is that you can save your creation as a jpeg file (or other picture types). The hangup I had to overcome, however, was that I could only save it at 72 dpi. For covers and promo you need at least 300 dpi. I tend to think there's a solution for just about everything, so I Googled a question about saving my PowerPoint files at 300 dpi (newer versions don't have that problem) and voila! I found instructions to solve that dilemma. After that, I experimented with PowerPoint and discovered it could do so much more than I ever imagined.
I was pleasantly surprised when I figured out how to pull an image out of a picture (I used Elements to do this) and insert the image in an unusual way into PowerPoint (Stranded in Oasis). I also experimented with creating promo cards and a banner. Previously, I had gone to a printing website and used their online software to create my cards, which was very frustrating because I wasn't proficient with their software and kept having to redo my project. Suddenly, a light went on and I thought about PowerPoint. As you can see below, I'm happily creating covers and promo to my heart's content. So, if you have PowerPoint and a desire to do your own creating, there's a lot you can do without having to buy an expensive program.
"Stranded in Oasis"
After traveling throughout Arizona, I have come to love "The Grand Canyon State." For several months, I contemplated a new series with Arizona being the home front for a cast of quirky characters, however, writing deadlines and obligations postponed that process--until now. The first story in the Oasis Series, titled Stranded in Oasis, is well into the writing process.
For anyone who has lived in a trailer or RV park, I'm sure you can relate to my observation that sometimes strange, lovable, or mysterious characters make up that population. In writing this story, I have merged the characteristics of many of the folks I have met in trailer and RV parks to create, I hope, lovable and not-so-lovable, characters that make you laugh or perhaps cry.
My starting premise for this story: What if a successful corporate executive in the prime of life (age 34), working for his grandfather's mega empire, is thrust into a situation requiring him to leave the trappings of wealth and live in a trailer park in the Arizona desert. I began contemplating how said "corporate magnate" would handle Grandfather's demand that he manage Desert Princess Trailer and RV Park in Oasis, Arizona, for six months. Grandfather's excuse is that he wants to determine the tenacity of his heir before making decisions regarding his will. Of course, there is more to the story, but that is a mystery solved at the end of the book.
As for the romantic interest of my corporate man; how about a gal who considers herself to be a desert rat and loves her small town of Oasis. She's also the divorced mom of a nine year old boy who lives and breathes baseball. Add to that, a trailer and RV park full of more desert rats, and our corporate exec is in way over his head. He may know how to head a billion dollar company, but managing a trailer park, while fighting his feelings for a certain gal and her son, has him questioning his priorities and his well-ordered and sumptuous lifestyle.
I have to admit that this book has been as much fun to write as Dream Kisses. Maybe that's because I love throwing my characters into situations completely foreign to them and watching them "tread water" so to speak. Of course, along the way, they learn lessons, meet wonderful people, and find true love. Ahh....
Max's frown increased as he accepted the paper that had been printed from the internet off a website called desertprincess.com. He furrowed his brow and read the page. Was this some kind of a joke? The page was an advertisement that read:
Spend your winters at Desert Princess Trailer and RV Park in beautiful Oasis, Arizona.
Max lifted confused eyes to his grandfather. "What are you telling me?" he asked.
"I'm telling you that you're going to manage that trailer park for six months and it will decide your future with my company."
Max, who managed billion dollar companies and hobnobbed with the most influential personalities in the world, couldn't wrap his mind around his grandfather's instructions. He simply looked from the printout with a picture of an assortment of trailers and RVs parked in rows amidst desert sand, a few scraggly trees, scrub brush, and cacti, back to his grandfather. The old man reached to push a button on his intercom. "Peggy, when's my next appointment and who is it with?"
Peggy, Max's secretary since the creation of man, who looked to be that old, said in her no-nonsense voice, "You have a three-thirty with the governor of South Carolina."
Max, Sr. stood. "Son, it's nice seeing you, but I've got some research to catch up on before meeting with the governor. He's looking for assistance with their transportation issues and I may have just the company to fit the bill."
Max, Jr. couldn't make his legs move. Softly, he said, "Sir, you're joking, right? You're not really sending me to oversee a trailer park?" He even managed a chuckle.
His grandfather, looking completely serious, replied, "What part of 'head off to Arizona' don't you understand?"